Saturday, September 19, 2009

B artist

I recently was scouted by a start up company: Company X is a children`s media company focused on developing educational content. Company X creates and develops content for children of all ages, with a particular focus on the pre-K and K-6 ages.

It sounded like a great opportunity so I submitted some sample work as they asked. The illustrations were not my best but they were very literal to the point and fit what the client was looking for. They said they wanted to hire me and sent me a contract. I mulled over it for awhile and came to the conclusion that the compensation was not adequate.

Here is the letter I sent them:
Thank you both so much for contacting me about this great opportunity. Unfortunately, after further consideration I am going to have to pass on this job. I think the project is a great idea and I admire that you want unique illustrations and not stock illustration. I am aware that you are a start up, but as an independent artist I think that the compensation is not adequate. 14-20 dollars an illustration (excluding any time for revisions) is very low for original work where there is no potential for royalties.
I am sorry for the inconvenience.



I think its hard to turn down work. I am a struggling artist, but I am also selling work at the coffee shop almost every day even if its just a greeting card. I think knowing that helped me determine that my work is worth more and I would be making about what I make at the coffee shop I work at if not a bit less. I think my free time could be better spent, but I also felt greedy and entitled when I made my decision. I think paying ones dues is important, but taking less than an artist should be payed also makes it acceptable for an artist to be payed less. Clip art and stock illustration has made it hard enough for artists, photographers, and designers to make money on original work. Why would a company pay for original work when they could get stock for 1/5th the price. Of course, when a company (usually young with a small budget) decides they want original work they offer what they would consider reasonable if the image was stock. I think determining ones worth is very important as an artist, but I also think your worth reflects on the whole community. Selling yourself short sells the community short.


danielle said...

i'd agree with you. one thing i keep reading from artists who have been able to make a living from their work is not to undervalue yourself. i think you're right too about selling the community short, it's like you want to be able to be part of setting that standard. you can charge more selling prints of your work than the price they were offering you! miss you char char.

linda said...

I think you did the right thing. I totally know how it feels to give up work when you are struggling to make ends meet as a freelancer...but you cannot undervalue yourself. You won't feel happy doing the work if you are not compensated properly. Perhaps the agency could afford more after being educated about the standards or you could negotiate the terms. Best of luck!

Desembarazarme said...

Good for you! You're worth more than what they offered, and you're keeping your standards. And I really love these illustrations. It's gotta be flattering and ego-boosting just to know that they liked you that much.